Yesterday I visited the local GP to fulfill a promise that I made to a lovely lady on the end of a Lifeline phone call.A� I made the promise that I would connect with a new doctor (mine has moved away) and let them know that I was struggling once again with my symptoms of depression.
This new doctor demonstrated to me everything that is wrong with the western approach to diagnosing depression.A� It was insulting enough to not be asked to explain my history, have I been on medication before, what’s worked, what doesn’t, what triggers it etc etc.A� But what he said next left me gobsmacked.
“You can’t be depressed – you teach yoga!”
My boyfriend had the perfect comeback “Do you ever get sick? Well you shouldn’t – you’re a doctor!”A� If only he had been in the room with me!
As I was driving home with little more than a verbal pat on the shoulder and a “if things don’t get better, come back”, I recalled a saying… “those that can’t, teach”.A� I wonder how true this is.
I am told by appreciative students that my explanations and cues for achieving a downward dog are great.A� Yet the pose continues to allude me after years of practice.A� During my teacher training I led a guided meditation which received glowing feedback.A� Yet I struggle to sit still for 5 minutes.A� Savasana (the corpse pose) is a calming, restorative pose yet you can find me gently snoring at the end of the class.
How many other teachers are out there that struggle with the fundamentals of yoga?A� Am I the only one?A� I teach because I know how good I feel after I give or receive a class.A� I teach knowing that most poses will never feel comfortable in this lifetime (I pray for the next!).A� I teach because for the 60 minutes of physical focus my little black dog retreats to his kennel.A� I teach in the hope that one day I will practice what I preach 100% (and not the 10%, 25% or 50%).
But above all else I teach because I love the way yoga affects everybody differently.A� Whether you’re a Lululemon junkie or a Bikram groupie, a 50 year old desk-bound accountant or an anxiety-ridden, overachieving manic depressive like me.A� We all experience yoga personally.A� Some go for the endorphin buzz or the feeling of being put through the spin cycle of a washing machine.A� Others find a moment of peace in an otherwise crowded and noisy world.
To be told that I can’t suffer from depression because I teach yoga is belittling.A� And so I continue my journey into the world of yoga with my black dog as my companion.A� And let me tell you something.A� On a black dog day – we’ve got downward dog nailed!